Despite the chaos of 2020, we’re reflecting on this past year with gratitude, and recognizing those that went above and beyond in the plant medicine community. We asked leaders in cannabis and psychedelics to share their thoughts on the most impactful organizations, coolest companies, inventive products, projects and online events that have touched our lives this year.
1. Amanda Friedman, Head of Professional Services at Backbone
“It takes a lot of start up capital to be able to participate in the industry today, which creates an insurmountable barrier for many operators that should have opportunities in this space. The Oakland Cannabis Kitchen is doing something really cool, with a manufacturing license that is a shared use facility. Equity license holders can rent space by the day to create products and scale their businesses on a timeline that works for them. We love seeing equity brands and licenses thrive and are excited about the Oakland Cannabis Kitchen creating this much needed pathway.”
“I feel like the most stylish stoner when I've got my Lady J Fumette in hand. My personal favorite is the amber one, it's instantly classic and also COVID friendly — I can still smoke a joint with a friend when we've both got our own mouth pieces! The Root Of It All makes the best tasting cannabis tinctures in all the land, trust me. Frigg's hair and face potions! Frigg is a black female owned company, founded by the absolute coolest woman ever (Kimberly Dillon).
Let me tell you about my best friend, my PAX 3. I love this vaporizer for both discretion and health reasons. I am obsessed. It's such a lovely device to have in my arsenal to give my throat a bit of a breather from joints, but still receive the full flavor of my flower, and I can stretch my stash with my PAX. And...quarantine was made a little bit sweeter with the company of my six lush green daughters! I started growing cannabis this year and got my hands on an Advanced Nutrients Home Grow Starter Kit, which made my plants completely thrive. Each box has bottles of Advanced Nutrients' top products and they're all pH perfect formulas, which made things super easy as a new grower to not have to pH balance our water every day!”
3. Marie Montmarquet, Co-founder of MD Numbers, Inc
"Maven Cannabis wins my vote for best brand. Not only is their bud phenomenal and completely delicious, but they have also been supporting the LGBTQAI+ community for years now. Most recently, Maven sponsored my latest music video "DADDY," which allowed for my entire team of 26 to be individually rapid tested for COVID both shoot days. Their best strain in my opinion is the Orange Julius.”
5. Andrew DeAngelo, Cannabis Industry Consultant and Strategic Advisor
“A company I am really loving right now is Califari. They are at the intersection of art and cannabis. They have all these rock and roll poster artists that make strain art and then they license that to weed companies. They also procure their own weed and put it all in these fabulous creative packages that can be collected or shared. The posters live in my home office and provide constant inspiration. Some even glow under black lights. When I want a pre-roll, my go to brand is Space Coyote because the joints always pop and have hash in them, too.
Two films I was a part of producing that I am proud of this year are CBD NATION, a documentary, and FREELAND, an independent feature film about growers in Humboldt being displaced by legalization. Both films do a good job of adding to the cannabis lexicon in pop culture. Given my mission to free all cannabis prisoners on earth, Last Prisoner Project is the non-profit I am working with the most right now as I serve as Treasurer on the Board of Directors for that org. Many other groups like Cage Free Cannabis are also doing great social justice work.”
6. Morris Beegle, Co-Founder & President of WAFBA (We Are For Better Alternatives)
“One of my favorite hemp projects I came across this year is Hem Mills, a hemp textiles production facility in North Carolina that produces wovens, knits and nonwovens. Look for great things in 2021 from this company as they bring a new level of opportunity to the US hemp textiles market.”
“This year, we loved rewatching Pen15 while smoking delicious outdoor sun-grown flower from LAKEGRADE, supporting and highlighting the incredible work by non-profits Root & Rebound and Success Centers, developing delicious recipes with Satori Chocolates (shout out to our infused chocolate cream pie!), enjoying premium flower by A Golden State while vibing to freestyle phenom Harry Mack's livestreams, and hosting the inaugural Emerge Virtual Cannabis Conference & Expo.”
8. Shelby Hartman, Editor-in-Chief / Co-founder of DoubleBlind
"So many incredible people in the psychedelic space have done incredible work this year. The psychedelic community quickly pivoted during COVID to host a number of dynamic and inclusive conferences. The Mt. Tam Psilocybin Summit and Chacruna's Psychedelic Liberty Summit come to mind. Santa Cruz, Ann Arbor, and D.C. all decriminalized natural psychedelics and Oregon became the first state to legalize medical psilocybin.
We've been so humbled to watch the DoubleBlind community grow, too. We now have more than 1000 people around the world taking their health into their own hands by growing mushrooms with us. What a blessing it's been to have the psychedelic community, even virtually, throughout these trying times.
9. Scott Sundvor, President and Co-founder of Space Coyote
"I love the work that Last Prisoner Project is doing to fight criminal injustice and help free the over 40,000 cannabis prisoners in the United States that were convicted of an activity that is no longer a crime. These prisoners are disproportionately Black or people of color, and this injustice needs to be addressed and corrected. This is a mission that I'm personally passionate about, and I'm continually impressed with how well LPP has been able to rally cannabis industry support and make positive strides. On the product side, I can't help but mention the Space Coyote x Poolside collaboration joint that was designed and crafted in a collectible tin with our favorite daytime disco band. These hybrid hash-infused joints are highly potent and the perfect vibe for some daytime relaxation."
10. Tammy Pettigrew, Lead Educator at The Cannabis Cutie
“My favorite cannabis company in 2020 would be The Originals! I love The Originals because they specialize in OGs, and it took them 15 years to perfect their OG recipe. They have been in the industry for over 15 years, they’re family owned, and you can feel the energy in their cultivation site! The love and relationships that everyone has with one another is felt by the plants and I truly believe it makes a difference! The Originals have their own dispensary and represent LA culture, cannabis culture and Americans who have made change through their art, talents and more. It’s also the only place you can purchase their products!”